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TFD: stolen hardware poses big risk in fighting building fires

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 2:21 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - When Topeka Fire Fighters arrive at the scene of a building fire, one of their first responses is to connect a hose to the building’s standpipe system in order to apply more pressure or add water to a building’s built-in sprinkler system.

However, fire fighters are noticing a trend that is putting pressure on their own ability to put a fire out quickly.

Chad Holthaus is a fire inspector with the Topeka Fire Department and he says the stolen parts make it that much harder for crews to do their jobs. “We’re having some of our adapters stolen off of the connections for the sprinkler systems, standpipes or the combination systems that doesn’t allow for us to hook up to the sprinkler system if we were needing to put water in the standpipe system.”

Scrap metal thieves are taking the metal adapters in hopes of selling the parts for profit, but Holthaus says that most of the adapters today are made from inexpensive pot metal. So far, most of the theft has taken place in and around downtown Topeka.

Holthaus says that the fire department is currently looking into options for replacing the stolen hardware, but for now suggests that landlords file a police report for any stolen hardware from their standpipe system.

A standpipe with a missing cover and adapter (left) and a complete standpipe (right)
A standpipe with a missing cover and adapter (left) and a complete standpipe (right)(WIBW)

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